It’s announcements like that one that make you feel all warm inside knowing you and your family have plenty of essential emergency supplies stored away for such an event. You’re so well prepared, you wave off those 72 hours as nothing. As a prepper you throw your head back and laugh at the prospect of being stuck in your home for a week or more, in fact as a prepper you welcome it.
Wait… what?? You’re not prepared? You don’t have any emergency food or other essential supplies stored away for the long term? Well, something has got to be done about that!
Okay, now settle down. Sit back. Relax. No need to panic. That blizzard isn’t really barreling down on your town…. not yet anyway. You have time. And you have help. Lucky for you, you’ve happened upon US Preppers Long Term Food Storage 101.
The Basics Of Long Term Storage For Preppers
Now planning for your family’s meals for a week or more when twice a week grocery runs have become commonplace can prove a daunting project, but that same job is easily manageable if you break it down and follow these simple steps.
My Prepper Food Storage Budget
That’s right. Actually write “long-term food storage budget” at the top of the piece of paper in front of you. Make it official. Most of us have a general idea of how much we spend weekly or monthly on groceries. We at least know how much we have to spend after all those household bills are accounted for.
But for our purposes we need to prepare some solid numbers. Go through your finances and figure out what your average grocery bill is for a given week. You might be surprised. And more than likely you will find places where you can save money. Now, ask yourself where a little extra can go towards essential emergency supplies.
This might be difficult since so many of us these days live paycheck to paycheck but it can be as simple as buying an extra can of tuna, jar of peanut butter or bag of rice. This may not sound like much but over time your long-term supplies will pile up making it well worth the effort.
Where does it all go & how long can I keep it?
Once you’ve decided on a budget and figured out how much you can spend each week or month on your prepper supplies, the next step is to find a place to store it. Make it a cool, dry space, out of the way but also easy to access.
If you settled on the ‘one extra can each week’ method then this shouldn’t be too difficult. Find a space in a cabinet or shelf where those extra items can be placed away from the regular everyday use items. Even a box or a plastic bin in a closet would work, as long as you can get at it with ease. Remember these essential goods are for you and your family during tough times, so no dipping into your supply unless other circumstances arise like the loss of a job or other financial disruptions, which count as personal emergencies in of themselves.
How long can this stuff last?
Well, this depends on the packaging itself and how it is stored. Store bought cans, for example, last longer than the date on the lid, in many cases, years longer. Although, a good rule of thumb is to rotate out high-acid foods like tomatoes as they react more with their containers affecting the nutritional value. Only buy cans in good condition. When on a budget, it is tempting to pick from the discounted “dinged and dented” bin but dented cans can leak or expose the contents to the air and spoiling the contents inside.
While canned vegetables come made for storing long-term, other packaging is not. Flour, sugar, rice, dehydrated foods and nuts (preferably still in shells) can last for months, even years if stored in airtight, plastic containers or ziplock-type bags to keep them fresh and protected from environmental effects such as humidity.
All these supplies will last longer if your preppers pantry is in a place that is dry with stable temperatures below 85 degrees. These requirements keep your choices for a storage area fairly broad. Other than a garage or attic, anywhere from under beds to under a cloth covered table to an empty corner in a bedroom closet to the home office will work. Make it a evening project for the whole family to find the best places in your home for your preppers pantry. And plan for future space as your stores grow.
What do I really need?
First, buy and store only what will be used. We tend to be creatures of habit, so don’t stray too far from your family’s usual diet. Begin prepping with a list of nonperishable and long lasting items that you know won’t offend the family’s pallet. Start with the staples; flour, sugar, salt, pepper, canned meat and vegetables, dehydrated and freeze dried goods, oatmeal, soups and other items like canned or powdered milk, which have great shelf lives.
Questionable items such as those could benefit from a taste test, or even a short trial run, to see how palatable or tolerable those options are. While the types of survival goods are important, ensuring everyone can maintain a healthy caloric intake is vital, especially when planning for the long-term. As preppers we think beyond the basics. So don’t forget that you’ll need plates and utensils to eat with and a way to cook. Consider including charcoal or propane barbeque or extra wood for a fire and don’t forget that hand-held can opener.
Now, this guide focused heavily on sheltering in place, staying put at home where all your emergency essentials are in easy reach. However, as preppers we know the situation could change in the blink of an eye, and may call for bugging-out, the primary consideration will then shift to weight and mobility. Dehydrated goods and freeze dried meals such as camp dinners or even MRE’s will replace heavy canned meats and vegetables. You can find helpful planning information for surviving on the move in our 72 Hours Bug-out Bag Guide and checklist.